BMW Megamoto | First Ride

HP2 For The Supermoto Set

By Roland Brown, Photography by Jason Critchell

A Boxer That Can Really Brawl!

Through the English seaside town I rode on the tall, aggressively styled Megamoto, cracking the throttle every so often just for the fun of sending the bike rushing forward. On reaching the open road I accelerated harder, this time sending the BMW leaping toward the horizon with its front wheel in the air. This was the sort of raw, high-octane excitement typical of big, naked roadster twins, but far removed from the more restrained and sophisticated character associated with BMW boxers.

There's an obvious reason for that: The Megamoto has been created to bring a new dimension of twin-cylinder performance to the street. The look and even the name are probably familiar-this bike is a direct descendent of last year's HP2 Enduro. However, the Megamoto retains the HP2 concept while having a very different purpose. This new model is a supermoto-style roadster, complete with a balancer shaft, shorter-travel suspension, 17-inch wheels, twin front discs and a host of other street-friendly features.

The basis of the Megamoto is BMW's familiar 1170cc, air/oil-cooled flat-twin, with high-cam layout, four valves and twin plugs per cylinder. It follows the R1200R in having a central balancer shaft and a 12:1 compression ratio. A reworked fuel-injection system and the new titanium Akrapovic exhaust system combine to give a peak output of 113 bhp at 7500 rpm. The maximum torque figure of 84.8 lb.-ft. at 6000 rpm is unchanged.

The striking tubular-steel space frame is similar to that of the Enduro but holds very different parts. A Marzocchi 45mm upside-down fork is multi-adjustable and gives 6.3 inches of travel. There's a similar amount of travel at the rear, supported by an hlins piggyback shock. Cast wheels in conventional 17-inch diameters hold 320mm discs gripped by BMW-branded, Brembo-built four-piston calipers.

That sporty feel continues as you sit astride the thinly padded seat, which has no passenger provisions and, at 35 inches high, is a stretch unless you've got long legs. At a claimed 395 pounds dry, the Megamoto is light by BMW boxer standards. Low-rev torque is still very much in place, and combines with crisp fuel-injection response to give useful acceleration almost from idle. And through the midrange the Megamoto really lives up to its name, storming forward with arm-yanking enthusiasm.

In town the bike's height and upright riding position give excellent visibility in traffic. Despite having 28.6 degrees of rake and a lengthy 63.6-inch wheelbase, the Megamoto is impressively maneuverable. Its generous steering lock, low center of gravity and the leverage provided by its wide handlebar meant the bike could be flicked around effortlessly, and its Paralever rear end ensured that I was barely aware of the shaft drive.

Ultimately, it's the Megamoto's firm and well-damped suspension that makes the biggest contribution to its handling. In town and on some of the badly worn country lanes, I wondered whether both ends were set up too firmly, because it passed on a few road cracks and bumps through to the bar and seat. But ride comfort was good enough that I didn't think it was worth stopping to fine-tune the suspension.

Under hard riding thechassis's only real flaw is its tendency to twitch under hard acceleration, doubtless due in part to the forces I was putting through the handlebar while steadying myself against the windblast. Despite the bike's lack of a steering damper, the weave never threatened to get worse. And when I reached the open road, the Megamoto regained its stability as it rumbled to an indicated 130 mph, heading for a top speed of about 140.

Beneath its rebellious image the Megamoto has retained some old-fashioned family values. It might have a feeble 3.4-gallon fuel tank and be a rare BMW in not offering factory options such as ABS or heated grips, but it seems very well made.

BMW is also hoping to follow Ducati and Harley-Davidson by releasing a lucrative line of HP (High Performance) accessories.

Unfortunately, there's no getting away from this bike's one major drawback: its price, which while as yet unannounced for the U.S. market is certain to slot in somewhere north of $20,000. BMW is justifying this by claiming that the HP2 models are limited-edition, exclusive machines built from premium components. Since this is the most stylish and exciting-not to mention among the best-BMW boxers I've ever tested, it's a shame that more people won't get to own one.

Tech Spec

Evolution
A supermoto street version of the boxer-powered HP2 Enduro introduced in 2006.

Rivals
Ducati Hypermotard, KTM 990 Super Duke and 950 Supermoto, plus maybe the Aprilia RXV550.

Tech
Price: TBA
Engine type: a/o-c flat-twin
Valve train: IHC, 8v
Displacement: 1170cc
Bore x stroke: 101.0 x 73.0mm
Compression: 12.0:1
Fuel system: Fuel injection
Clutch: Dry, single plate
Transmission: 6-speed
Claimed horsepower: 113.0 bhp @ 7500 rpm
Claimed torque: 84.8 lb.-ft. @ 6000 rpm
Frame: Tubular-steel space frame with single-sided Paralever swingarm
Front suspension: 45mm Marzocchi inverted fork with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound dampingRear suspension: Single hlins shock with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Front brake: Dual four-piston Brembo calipers, 320mm discs
Rear brake: Single two-piston Brembo caliper, 265mm disc
Front tire: 120/70-ZR17 Michelin Pilot Power
Rear tire: 180/55-ZR17 Michelin Pilot Power
Rake/trail: 28.6/3.7 in.
Seat height: 35.0 in.
Wheelbase: 63.6 in.
Fuel capacity: 3.4 gal.
Claimed dry weight: 395 lbs.
Colors: White
Available: Early 2008
Warranty: 3 years, 36,000 mi.
Contact: www.bmwmotorcycles.com

Verdict
The most exciting BMW yet. Shame about the high price.

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